HASTINGS – Mary Lanning Healthcare recently used its first dose of the drug remdesivir on a COVID-19 patient. The critical patient was discharged five days after receiving the drug.
Hospitalist Dr. Scott Gordon and a team including Dr. Abel Luksan, MLH Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Daniel Brailita, infectious disease specialist, were responsible for the care of the 47-year-old patient.
Dr. Gordon said the patient was similar to others the hospital has seen with COVID-19 but this was the first patient for whom remdesivir was available.
Dr. Brailita explained that remdesivir is a broad-spectrum, antiviral drug originally developed for ebola patients. The FDA reviewed the drug in May and gave it emergency use approval. After that occurred, the federal government took over distribution of the medication and the state of Nebraska distributed dosages to hospitals based on projected use. MLH received its first doses when other COVID-19 cases were just winding down.
When the new case came in and the patient was critically ill, remdesivir was considered for treatment. Dr. Brailita said the MLH team, including the pharmacy and nurses, worked quickly to make the treatment possible once it was approved for this particular patient.
However, both Dr. Gordon and Dr. Brailita agreed, it is important for people to know that MLH only has a certain number of doses of the drug.
“From a practical standpoint, we need to stress that we have a very limited supply,” Dr. Gordon said. “There are very few people who will be good candidates for its usage.”
Despite the limits, doctors were pleased with the patient’s quick recovery while receiving the drug and all of the other usual treatments given to COVID-19 patients.
“It was a great outcome compared to what we saw in the ICU before,” Dr. Brailita said.
“This is just another tool we have in our arsenal for patients,” Dr. Gordon said.